Monday, February 22, 2010

Psych

As a psych student, I often attempt to merge the schools of thoughts found in the Torah I try to study, and the psychology classes I have taken. How much of Torah takes into account the thoughts and feelings of true human nature?

One of my favorite things of Judaism is the mourning process. The Torah allows for the most natural and safest way for a person to heal after the death of a loved one- allowing a day without Mitzvot until the body is buried, a week of purging- for all emotions and feelings to be expressed. Then a month of remembrance and a 30-day gathering to really heal and remember the good. Finally a year long expression of love and prayer through Kaddish. SO as to never forget the pain that uou have experienced and how to express to Hashem your love for Him and have Him take care of the soul of the departed.

However, I do recognize that often time Halacha seems so out of touch with reality. Like the feelings of pain and anguish I feel over the prospect of spending a life alone as the Rabbi's would want, although that's not my plan. And when human beings try to do the best they can to cope and enjoy life in the world, while sometimes Torah seems to only want us to focus on the world to come and do everything here to make our reward greater there. How does the Torah address social conformity, peer pressure, and the 'struggles' of the 21st century of guarding your eyes and guarding your tongue when there seems to be evil all around us- that's up to us to do our best, but it would have been nice to have more of a guidance, like in the laws of mourning. Torah can be practical, Torah can be out there, we have to figure out a way to make it all work in our lives.

6 comments:

  1. I know people who found shiva to be the absolute worst way to mourn - a psychologically damaging experience. I think that everyone has the laws that make sense to them and the laws that don't. Lfi anyat daati, the laws of Torah Judaism are meant to be a struggle and are meant to be confusing. I, personally, appreciate the laws that make sense to me but recognize that just because I've found a way to connect to those laws and see them enrich my life does not mean that Gd commanded those laws to achieve that purpose. Something else is going on - something that's beyond my understanding - and, in the meantime...I get what I can get, learn whatever I can, and struggle with the rest hoping it'll all make sense one day.

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  2. Ely...

    I think you have one major flaw in your thinking that leads you to your problems on the subject.

    Its not as you say "we have to figure out a way to make it all work in our lives."

    ...its how do we make our lives work with the torah!

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  3. Simchas Beis HA"Toaiva"February 22, 2010 at 11:03 PM

    It is the people that are posting messages such as these that we should be sitting shiva and saying kaddish for.

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  4. to Simchas Beis HA"Toaiva"...i hope we never have to sit shiva or say kaddish for anyone that's alive. people have different ways of looking at things-making our lives fit to the Torah's laws is not a bad way to look at life and figuring out how to make it work in our lives is not bad either....everyone struggles and searches, and even if it is just that common denominator, well at least it's something in common...i wish we could all look past the externals and the differences and focus on those things that link us to one another...everyone and everything is connected. i pray that i can remember that and bring myself one step closer to the Jewish people every moment...and i pray for the Jewish people to open our hearts to our people and all of humanity to create a more peaceful and unified world.

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  5. I dunno, I agree that a person has to have sympathy for having the challenges that you have, and a community should not shun a person who has those challenges. But I think a community has a right to shun a person who says (and publicly at that!) that "that's not my plan" to spend my life alone. If it's your plan to violate this very heinous crime, then a community should shun you, as they should shun someone who steals publicly, scams people out of their money publicly, an agunah who "marries" another without a divorce, a person who cheats on their wife and publicly acknowledges it, really any sin that a person does publicly.
    I'll be honest, I don't judge as a bad person because you've made this decision, I do not know how long I would last in that situation, but I feel very bad for you that you've given up, and a community does have a right to shun a public violator of sin regardless of how strong his ta'avah his, and regardless of how much love he feels for someone that his forbidden to him.

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  6. Just to clarify one of my lines which I dont think I wrote properly. I don't judge you as a bad person just because you have chosen this path. I don't know myself how I would have handled such a difficult nisayon. But I feel very bad for you that you've given up, and a community does have a right to shun a public violator of sin regardless of how strong his ta'avah his, and regardless of how much love he feels for someone that his forbidden to him.

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